P&R Committee discusses moving basketball courts

A meeting of the City of Bamberg Public Buildings Parks and Recreation Commission was held at the Ness Sports Complex to discuss the ongoing status of the City’s basketball courts.

City Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Nancy Foster opened the meeting by stating that there was not enough room for two regulation courts in the present location and a change in the surface requested by those wanting to see improvements at the court. Foster noted that moving the courts to another location in town or at the county industrial park was under consideration and Representative Bakari Sellers has pledged funds for the project.

It was noted that two regulation courts made of asphalt and concrete would cost approximately $25,000, the City is in the process of obtaining a $22,000 (PARDs) Grant that would require a 20 percent match.

“I want to make it an attractive parking area around the sports complex,” Foster said, noting that a suggestion was made that the courts be moved to a location near the water tower on Scout Street near Brabham Oil Company or a site on Bridge Street in the City of Bamberg.

Foster noted that most towns in the area separate their basketball courts from their other sports complexes, sighting Fuller Park in the City of Barnwell as an example.

Parks and Recreation Committee member Cynthia Summers said the members of the 1st Peter Church located adjacent to the sports complex were not interested in seeing the courts moved to a location near them. “We need to keep them (basketball courts) here, but would need parking and seating,” Summers said. Summers also said that adults should be allowed to play with their children at the park. “It’s not right to say children should play without adults,” she added.

One reason given for moving the basketball court was the foul language used by some young people using the courts to which, downtown merchant James McMillian stated ; moving the court would simply be “moving the problem from one place to another.”

Bamberg City League Basketball Director Craig Walker, who is acting as an unofficial advisor on the matter with the basketball courts, said it was more “cost effective” to leave the courts in their present location and the foul language and cursing at the court was “a law enforcement issue.”

Walker said the present court should be extended approximately 4’ ft. and include one regulation “Versa Court” described as an outside type material that has “a little give to it” and a “warm-up court." It was noted during the discussion that a Versa Court would cost approximately $30,000. As for the present basketball courts being moved to the County Industrial Park location, Walker said the plans are for an indoor multipurpose facility to be built at the proposed wellness complex.

Committee member Councilperson Buck Fralick noting the money pledged by Rep. Sellers for a new court and the need for parking space at the complex stated: “Parking is an issue, if there is money to do something else you need to take advantage of it,” Fralick said.

“I just think we can do something better than this,” Foster said of the existing basketball court location. “We will not make a decision today, but we are getting closer.”